Spezia v Atalanta
It’s been a funny season for Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta, and a visit to Liguria to take on Spezia isn’t the easiest of tasks for anybody in Serie A. The Aquilotti have given problems to a number of teams this season, but La Dea’s away record makes them favourites in Sunday’s early kick-off.
While the Nerazzurri have had their struggles this season, they’ve performed relatively well on the road. Most of their problems have come at home and the Serie A away table has them sitting in fourth place.
Add to that Spezia’s poor recent record, and Gasperini will be expecting to take nothing less than three points back to Bergamo with him. They won at Venezia on the road recently, and showed some goalscoring form despite their draw with Torino, sharing eight goals in Bergamo.
Since February, only Venezia have lost more games than Spezia in Serie A, losing eight of the 12 they’ve played. They have also conceded 29 goals in the last 30 minutes of play this season, conceded at least once in that period of time in seven of their last 11, so Atalanta will know that they’ll have chances late on.
Mario Pasalic is likely to be a threat for the visitors as well. He’s been involved in 18 Serie A goals this season, is in a fine run of form, and two of the five games in which he’s scored two or more goals have come against Spezia.
Venezia v Bologna
While Venezia aren’t yet mathematically relegated, they more than likely will be by the end of this weekend’s Serie A action. A win at Bologna may temporarily give them some hope, though that is almost sure to be banished later in the evening.
Even a win, though, seems a long way away for the Arancio Nero Verde. Bologna have been in decent form of late and Venezia have been in anything but good form. They’ve lost more games than anybody this season – 23, with Salernitana, Spezia, and Sampdoria’s 20 being the next closest.
One of their biggest concerns has come in attack, and they almost never score more than once in a game. They last netted twice in an unlikely 2-1 win at Torino on 12th February. Prior to that, they hadn’t scored more than one goal in a game since losing 4-3 at home to Verona on 5th December.
Bologna themselves don’t tend to be involved in goal-filled games, so it’s hard to see that changing this Sunday afternoon. It’s likely to be a low-scoring affair at the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, though picking a winner between these two would prove challenging. Maybe Venezia’s desperation will get them over the line with a narrow 1-0 win.
Salernitana v Cagliari
Survival specialist Davide Nicola is doing it again. After saving Crotone, Genoa, and Torino in recent seasons, he’s now working his magic at Salernitana and has the Campania side out of the relegation zone coming into this weekend’s six-pointer against fellow strugglers Cagliari.
Given Salernitana’s recent form, it’s hard to look past them picking up three more points as their incredible battle against the drop continues. They’ve already drawn at Atalanta and beaten Venezia just this week to climb out of the bottom three, and those results come after three straight victories against Sampdoria, Udinese, and Fiorentina previously.
A win over the Sardinians would be Salernitana’s first against them since January 2004, and that came in Serie B. In four games between the two sides since, Cagliari have won three and there’s been a draw.
Cagliari, for their part, managed a 1-0 win over Sassuolo in mid-April but that was their only win since February 27, then beating Torino 2-1 in Turin. Their recent sacking of Walter Mazzarri appears to be one last roll of the dice in an attempt to spark some sort of reaction from the players, but Salernitana have looked too good to look beyond for a win in Salerno this weekend.
Verona v AC Milan
Fatal Verona is once again the destination for a title-chasing AC Milan side this Sunday night, and Stefano Pioli’s Rossoneri go to the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi knowing that only a win will suffice after Inter’s win over Empoli on Friday evening.
History suggests that Milan’s trip to Veneto will be difficult, having fallen there at crucial times in years gone by. And this season’s Verona are no pushovers either. Igor Tudor’s side won away at Atalanta in March, and they have claimed wins against Roma, Lazio, and Juventus at the Bentegodi this season.
But Milan have shown resilience in recent weeks, and their win over Fiorentina proved again that they’re able to get the job done this season in a way that they previously couldn’t, so it’s hard to back against them, even with the pressure ramping up each week.
Defensive solidity has been key for Milan so far, and they’ve the best defensive record in Europe’s top-five leagues since the beginning of March, alongside Liverpool. That could go a long way to getting them three more points in Veneto.
In attack, Rafael Leao has proven a tricky opponent for most this season, but they could call on an unlikely hero in Junior Messias on Sunday night, with him having scored in each of his previous two Serie A appearances against the Gialloblu – though both came for Crotone.
Fiorentina v Roma
Having booked their place in the Europa Conference League final, Jose Mourinho’s Roma make a relatively short trip north to Tuscany where they’ll face Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and this is a game from which it’s hard to pick a clear favourite.
Their recent 3-1 loss to Inter aside, though, the Giallorossi have found solidity at the back of late and have done reasonably well – drawing with Napoli and Leicester in the Conference League before beating the Foxes at home. They’ve also claimed wins against Salernitana, Bodo/Glimt, Sapmdoria and Lazio in the last five or six weeks. In Serie A, they were held to a goalless draw at home to Bologna last time out.
They don’t tend to lose in Florence, though. They’ve lost just once in their last nine trips there, winning five, and Fiorentina are in a bad run of form after losing each of their last three Serie A games – their longest losing streak since December 2019.
In their last four games, Fiorentina have scored just once. La Viola’s last win came on April 16 when they beat Venezia 1-0, and they’ve only scored more than one goal in a match once since the beginning of March.
Expect this to be a low-scoring affair, and make Roma the more likely to edge it if there is to be a winner.
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